Haulin' In the Big Ones


Not all mining of precious gems is done through big conglomerates. In many areas of the world, local artisanal miners also try their hand at finding stones worth selling to make a living--sometimes barely eking out a meager subsistence. 

But feel good stories do exist--and when the little guy makes a good haul, the world rejoices. 

Miners in Tanzania Credit: World of Diamonds

This summer, Maasai artisanal miner Saniniu Laizer uncovered the two largest tanzanite crystals ever unearthed . . . ever. Small scale miners like Laizer can sell their finds to the government for a fair price in a transparent exchange. He became a millionaire with his two discoveries.

Tanzanite Rough Credit:World of Crystals

Could it get any better? Some weeks later, he topped his own discovery with another find. Laizer's latest haul weighing 14 lbs will likely earn him an additional $2M over what he's already made with his previous discovery.

How will this extravagant windfall change the 52-year old's life? As a father of 30 children, education probably ranks top-of-mind for this newfound multi-millionaire. Laizer says the money will not change his life much. He'll continue to care for his 2,000 cattle, and use the funds to build a school and health care facility in his region. 


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